Saturday, December 4, 2010

Poetry Bus

Trepidatiously, I board the bus again this week. A new driver. I hope I'll have the correct fare.

Kat from Poetikat is driving, and the assignment is to write a poem using the name of a favorite pub, bar or restaurant as the starting point for the story.

Well, we don't have pubs, but we do have a great Sports bar. I think there are more TV's in there than they can seat customers and during the 'season' the place is packed. Their beer is cold, their atmosphere is friendly and if it's too loud, they have outdoor seating.  Did I mention their food is great?  And best of all, they don't turn down ANY high school athletic teams looking for fundraising ideas. This place is truly a part of our community -- even though they're a franchised business.

Now, I have to say, my poem is NOT about sports or the bar...but the concept of Glory Days. I struggled with how to convey what I feel.  As an Air Force vet myself, I look back on those days as some of the best ever, so in some small way, I get it. Hope you do too!


He’d been only 21 that summer
When honor claimed his time
He sought a justice day, in his own small way
To avenge a terrible crime.

He’d been to the field in Pennsylvania
Bowed his head near the hole in the ground
Imagined the plane falling, hearing them calling
But realized the wind was the sound.

Traveling to the five sided building
Homage again he would pay,
And in Manhattan the prayers were like satin
As many remembered the day.

He elected to serve his country
To try to make sense of their hate
To hold his head high as he fought not to cry
When the evil just would not abate.

Old at only age twenty three
A leader of men he became
They went out on patrol and returned to cajole
One another to keep them all sane.

He was proud to serve these men
And loved them more than brothers
Celebrated their gains and shared their pains,
Enjoyed cookies sent by their mothers.

An explosion ended his duty
And took away two of his boys
At home he found treasure and cited his pleasure
In life’s simplest of joys.

He’d come back to great celebration.
A patriot beloved by his town
He didn’t feel like a hero, rejected that mirror
But didn’t want to let anyone down.

"What I was doing wasn’t heroic
Every man there did the same
We took care of each other and tried to do right
Without thought to money or fame."

But his wife knew a particular look in his eyes
As he relived those Glory Days
The ones where his lads gave it all that they had
In firefights, poker or play.

He’d come back to home to red, white, and blue.
To his loving children and wife.
But the thrill and camaraderie of brothers in arms
Would be the sweetest memory of his life.

copyright, Kelley Westenhoff, 2010


The Bug said...

This is a great tribute to one of our heroes - and a good poem too!

Kat Mortensen said...

Been out all day, Kelley, so I just received your comment now.

I think the way you interpreted my assignment was admirable! I like how you adapted the concept to your poem and told a great story - one that many can relate to.

"When honour claimed his time" and "rejected that mirror" really stood out for me.

Adding you to my sidebar right away!


quilly said...

Excellent tribute to a warrior.

Carolina Linthead said...

We ask so much of these young folks! You express so very well what the ones who come home often feel after having been "touched by fire" in the days of their youth, as one famous Civil War veteran put it. I agree with Kat: I like how you took the prompt and claimed it as your own! A very worthy ticket, and a worthy tribute to our veterans, so many of whom have given so much and ask only our understanding in return.

Peter Goulding said...

Admirably constructed with some lovely juicy rhyming in there - Manhattan / satin etc. The last verse says it all - after a tour of duty, life just can never quite compete.

120 Socks said...

From the first line, you had me hooked, and I was gripped to the end. Very moving. You held a great seat on your poetry bus ride!

Lydia said...

I really liked this...the way you wove the call to duty with the love for it when all is said and done.
One of my nephews is a Lt. Col. and is over in Iraq as a part of the wrap-up force until next spring.

Totalfeckineejit said...

WElcome aboard the bus, and well done! Tough story well told with good rhymes and I like the rejection of the mirror. Fab!